The Children

ON

Coming to DVD Tuesday, October 6

Cast:

Hannah Tointon as Casey

Eva Birthistle as Elaine

Stephen Campbell Moore as Jonah

Rachel Shelley as Chloe

Raffiella Brook as Leah

Directed by Tom Shankland

Review:

The Children is a sick f***ing movie.

And I mean that in the best possible way.

I haven’t had a good time like this in quite a while or had a movie that has gotten under my skin so much in very long time.

The Children strikes at the core of a parent’s basic nature – protect your kids at all costs. Any parent will tell you that they would do anything, ANYTHING, for their children. But what would you do as a parent if your kids suddenly, inexplicably turned evil? Came after you with wanton abandon and murderous rage?

It is a very difficult predicament. But these are the choices that face the parents in The Children.

On a family vacation to the snowy parts of England, two families – each with two preschoolers a piece with one family having an additional rebellious teenage daughter – meet a nice cabin for a friendly, normal vacation. But this is a Ghost House Underground title and everything is far from normal.

Soon, the children begin to act funny. They begin to cough up parasites of some sort and begin vomiting. They tell the parents they are feeling sick but the parents are too caught up in their own business to pay attention. These sick feelings turn to visions of blood and gore at dinner, which ends up as a crying fest that boils into a distraction … a distraction so that the children can set up a plan to take out one of the parents.

Yes, for whatever reason, these children have turned to the dark side, these parasites have turned them into murderous creature with only one goal – kill all adults. The first killing is of one of the fathers who was sledding down a hill after dinner falls apart. The kids played on the father’s playful attitude and positioned a metal rake in his way as he was barreling down a hill. Definitely not a good time.

This is one of the things we see from The Children over and over again (and smartly done so as well as scary as hell) – the kids play off the parents’ natural instinct to protect them and play with them as a way to do them harm. A parent comes running when a child cries, or they ask for help or the child gets put in a position where they need help getting out of. Here, they use this advantage as a way to attack them. Extremely creepy especially as it is a natural instinct to help out a child in distress.

But The Children is smart in other ways as well. We see that the kids carried off the father they killed but how could they given their small stature? A sled is aptly placed in a subtle overhead shot that reveals the answer but not in our faces.

Only the teenage daughter realizes that something is wrong and she tries her best to protect her mother at all costs even taking steps to inflict harm on her younger brother. But it is the mother that actually ends up killing the young tyke after he nearly stabs the teenager in the eye with a knife.

Yes, there are children deaths here, a number of them in fact. And not just the lame milquetoast My Girl kind either. Two are impaled on sharp objects and at least two are run over by a car. See one of the final twists to the film happens toward the end where we see there must be something in the water as these children aren’t the only ones affected by these parasites or whatever.

Interesting that killing children in films in the past was taboo subject. No one wanted to see kids getting killed in violent ways. The Children takes that taboo and gives it the finger.

But the thing here is that nearly everything we see is completely, heartbreakingly sad. You see the raw emotions and the tortured souls of these people realizing their children have become evil and they are faced with the worst of circumstances even in nightmares.

Overall, this is a must see. It is freaking ridiculously spooky and the way it plays off those raw parental emotions is fun and disturbing all at the same time, especially if you have children. By far, the best of the Ghost House Underground 2009 releases.

Extras:

I love it when we get a bit of extra material on DVDs because we learn so much more about a film the process that went about creating it.

“Making of The Children” is a pretty good breakdown of the film and how they came up with the idea, the filming of the movie with detailed look at the death scenes and lots of playful footage of the children on set having a grand time – just in case anyone was worried that they were being exploited or not having fun playing “kill the grown-ups.” What’s most enjoyable – not from a sadistic standpoint mind you – is that they show in detail the killings of the children and how they were used. Again, a point of reference for those thinking the kids were taken advantage of or abused in some way. Nice to have all of that filmed and shown as you know someone is going to raise a flag somewhere.

The deleted scenes in the extras don’t really offer up anything more than a few scenes that help set a stage for other scenes so missing from the original cut is not a big deal.

The “Working With Children” featurette covers some of the same ground as the “Making of” but goes a bit more in-depth in getting to know them and how “sweet” they really are compared to their on-screen killer personalities.

The “Shooting on Location” featurette is exactly as the title indicates the look for the house they found in the country and the ideal time for shooting – during the snowy season.

The final featurette, “Paul Heyett Talks Prosthetics,” also retreads a bit on the “Making of” but gives a little more in-depth into the special effects used from the eyeball shot to the head wounds to the heads getting impaled on numerous objects.